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I have an almost 3 year old daughter who just can’t decide what to wear each day if I’m towering over her waiting for an outfit. I also have an almost 5 year old son who just can’t decide which sticker to award himself with when he’s successfully made his bed in the morning.

This can be painful, to say the least, but I recognise it is something that we all face on different levels…the pressure to make a decision.

I am one of those people who need all the facts, all the evidence and all the justification to make particular decisions – So I cannot condemn my kids for being like that. I married a man, however, who is the complete opposite.

He declares it’s easy, just decide. Don’t over think it, just make a decision!

This is one of those things in our marriage that I guess if it doesn’t kill us – it will only make us stronger, and I am grateful for that. Imagine if we were both indecisive. Who knows where we’d be!

Anyway, “I just can’t decide!” is a statement that comes about more often than it should. I’m not sure if there is a hidden fear inside me, or just an uncontrollable urge to have someone decide for me. That way I don’t hold responsibility, there’s no tarnish on my name, it wasn’t my decision, I was just doing what I was told (like a good servant).

I’ve recently learned (and decided) that this is not a very fulfilling way to live and I WANT OUT!

Our lives are shaped by the decisions we make. And sure, we all make mistakes and some decisions have terrible consequences, but other decisions place us in triumph, where we overcome what is holding us back and break through our own personal barriers. That is where I want to be. On the other side of those barriers.

So when our daughter stands at the drawer, feeling like there is a right or wrong selection of clothes as I watch in anticipation, I step back. I want her to feel like she can make her own decisions. I don’t need to decide everything for her.

I’m not going to be there to dictate every move to her forever. I can only act as a guide. Once she learns that her decisions are respected and honoured then she gains confidence to make bigger decisions further down the track in life.

And hopefully, in a mother’s Prayer, she makes the right decisions. If not, then I hope to teach her how to take responsibility for the wrong decisions she’s made and learn from her mistakes. We are all human after all, and mistakes are a part of life.

As for our son, when he’s loitering over the sticker chart mumbling “um, oh, hmmm, what’s that say mum?” I can appreciate that he cares which sticker is symbolising his efforts today, and takes pride in his work.

I also find myself stepping back (instead of pressuring him to hurry up) and find that this helps him take ownership of the freedom to choose what he feels is best (quicker than if I had of stood there and negotiated through the elimination process).

Decision making is a huge part of life, I feel that I have been victimised by my own approach to making decisions. All my life I’ve been trying to avoid them, pass the buck or stay on the fence and have recently discovered this does more damage than actually making the wrong decision.

You see if we decide, and learn it was a bad decision – then we can correct it, learn from our mistakes and move on – maybe even help another person in that same situation? And if we make the right decisions, we can take that same ownership, only feeling uplifted, empowered and confident that we’ve done the right thing.

So don’t be a repeater of the statement “I just can’t decide!” Do yourself a favour. Start small. Make a decision today that you will be more decisive.

And when you feel those questions of doubt, or feel like you should revert back to the undecided stage – remind yourself “I decided ________ and I take full responsibility for the outcome!”

Teach your kids the same. You will be amazed at the fruit of independence that comes from starting this at an early age.

Do you have trouble making decisions?

  • I’m with your husband here, just pick one for heavens sake! My hubby is like you however and sometimes he spends so long researching and deciding,me end up with nothing because he can’t decide!

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  • I am a horrible decision maker it annoys my hubby soooo much.

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  • also with little children, i understand that you want to encourage them to think for themselves, so i will pass on this tip! you pick two or three outfits and let them have a choice from what you provide. anything more than this, requires the child to make a long and careful assessment and a lot of thought, just to be told “i don’t know/can’t decide”

    this way, you will save time and have compramised and made this process easier for your child

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  • Have you noticed that if time is running out to be at your desitnation on time, it is when your child takes longest to choose what she will wear? Why do parents give their children choices at so young an age. We were told what to wear at that young an age, simple no arguments and delays. At school we went in uniform and changed into old clothes when we got home. We were trained to wear whatever was on the top of the stacks. We didn’t have a mountain of clothes to choose from anyway. Our washing was done every weekend and hung out on the clothes lines, part of which was undercover.

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  • My indecisiveness has caused me so much grief in my life and I’m in the process of trying to deal with it and make my life easier and hopefully better. It can be so deeply ingrained in your being that you don’t even know it’s a part of you and we need to learn to be kinder to ourselves I think. Baby steps :)

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  • this was interesting. i think that if we want our children to be patient then we should demonstrate it

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  • Interesting article and a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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  • I sometimes find it hard to make decisions especially big one always seem to make the wrong choice but have learnt threw my mistakes

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  • At that age I wasn’t given a choice what I would wear. I was simply dressed or helped to dress myself depending on what I was wearing. I know one girl who was given 2 choices at that age but always wanted something different – usually not suitable – often choosing clothes not suitable for the weather. There was tantrums sometimes because of it.
    That is another good reason for school uniforms – girls especially can’t tease others about they are wearing that way. Not all parents can possibly afford the latest fashion expensive clothes (and several outfits – not just enough for a couple of weeks) for them to wear to school every day. Yes, that was happening when I was at Primary School. In all High Schools uniforms are compulsory and would be much cheaper it everything didn’t have to have the school emblem on them. I really don’t think it is necessary on school sports shorts. Jumpers, blazers and windcheaters I can understand but not shorts and long pants for sports. The sports shirts are labelled. Surely that is enough. Shorts with the school logo as almost double the price of plain shorts the same colour and type of material bought in discount department stores……I think in some decisions some children are let make choices at too young an age.
    Would you ask your 4 year old what he / she wanted for the tea that night – every night, not just for a special treat or occasion?

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  • This is a good article with a touch of humour!

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  • Ok Mum please make this easier for yourself. It’s a reward and you set up the task so you give out the reward sticker. No Choice by the child. They need to learn to accept the reward/prize with grace. When it comes to picking an outfit put two on the bed and leave the room. What ever they come out in is great. If it ends in tears all the time just put the clothes out at night on the bottom of their beds and that’s it! Don’t stress the small stuff!

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  • I have some trouble making decisions but i think we all do, right? lol

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  • I think I just make a decision and stick to it. My Canvas Prints

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  • I tend to just go with my gut for the most part, my husband is the analyst/over thinker!

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  • I am good, I just choose and live with it :)

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